2021-02-26 22:45:00 | rollicking footage, a touching reunion, but lacking in heavyweight insight

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Story by: The Telegraph

“Get in there, Frank!” Rarely has there been a more rousing, charmingly partisan piece of sports commentary than Harry “the Voice of Boxing” Carpenter cheering on Frank Bruno as he fought Mike Tyson in 1989. In the heat of the moment, any pretence of neutrality flew off into the neon-lit Las Vegas night sky. Carpenter couldn’t help rising out of his ringside seat to root for his friend.

Bruno vs Tyson (Sky Documentaries) was a feature-length documentary tracing the duo’s rivalry. This rollicking, Rocky-esque film climaxed with a touching reunion between the two old foes – Big Frank and Iron Mike, now well into middle-age, man-hugging in pastel leisurewear.

Their late Eighties and mid-Nineties battles were framed by the media in broad, simplistic strokes. Behind the headlines and hype, however, the men’s lives were remarkably similar. Both transcended tough upbringings to find fame and fortune in fisticuffs. Neither could ever quite escape their demons, resulting in drug problems, financial troubles, marriage splits and mental health issues, with both diagnosed as bipolar in later life. 

Directed by Benjamin Hirsch and Oscar-winner Kevin Macdonald (Touching The Void), the tale was told mainly through evocative archive footage – appearances on Wogan, shots of silver fox Des Lynam – and thudding, thrilling fight clips. Narration came from retrospective interviews with promoters, peers, friends and family. 

We heard how power-puncher Bruno, who won 38 of his 45 fights by knockout, was a proud Cockney who trained above the Royal Oak pub in Canning Town. His amiable nature meant he rapidly became a tabloid fixture and TV stalwart with the catchphrase, originally addressed to Carpenter: “Know what I mean, Harry?”

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Source References: The Telegraph

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